absolution - act whereby a priest, passed on from the authority of Christ, grants the remission of sins 

American Continent - North, Central and South America

Apostolic - refers to the bishops who are the successors to the original twelve Apostles

Apostolic Exhortation - a "strong urging or plea" from the bishops who are the successors to the original twelve Apostles 

Ascension - the "going up" into Heaven of Christ by His own power.  It occurred in the presence of the Apostles, the Blessed Mother and His disciples, 40 days after His Resurrection from the dead

Augustinian - Order of friars following the Rule of St. Augustine in 1278

Benediction - an invocation of divine blessing

Bishop of Rome - The Pope, who is currently Pope John Paul II

Buddhism - The religion that centers around Buddha, who was called the Sage of India and the Enlightened or Awakened One and who is recognized as its founder.  Has been a religion in the Asiatic world for 2-1/2 thousand years.

celibacy - Church law in the Western Church which forbids married men from becoming priests and once ordained from marrying 


The Ten Commandments - the moral commands or laws given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai /  The first three are regarding the love and true worship of God and the remaining seven are regarding love and justice to our neighbor.   1)  "I am the Lord thy God, you shall not have strange gods before Me"  2)  "You shall not take the Name of the Lord, thy God, in vain"  3)  "Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day"  4)  "Honor your father and your mother"  5)  "You shall not kill"  6)  "You shall not commit adultery"  7)  "You shall not steal"  8)  "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"  9)  "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife"  10)  "You shall not covet your neighbor's goods" 

The Two Great Commandments - encompasses The Ten Commandments, but are broken down into Two Great Commandments given by Jesus Christ, Himself - Mark 12:29-31 

First - The Lord thy God is one God.  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind and with thy whole strength Second - Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  

consecrated religious - men or women of a religious order who take special "vows" and who have given their lives to the service of the Church according to the rules and purpose of their particular order

conversion - to transform or change

doctrine - embraces all those beliefs and teachings that are contained in and reflect the message of Jesus Christ.

dogma - a "truth" contained in Scripture or tradition for belief by the Church

egoism - the tendency to consider only oneself and one's own interests

envision - to imagine ( something yet not in existence )

Epiphany of the Lord - liturgical feast celebrated usually on January 6, commemorating the visitation of the Magi ( kings ) to Jesus after His birth in Bethlehem

Eucharist - the sacrament in which is present the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine

evangelization / evangelize - the act of preaching the Gospel (see Gospel below)

exhortation - is a strong "urging or plea"

fasting - day on which only one full meal may be eaten.  The meal may be at noon or in the evening.  The other two meals, taken together, should be less than the full meal.  Meat may be eaten unless it is a day of complete abstinence from meat.   

Feast of the Immaculate Conception - liturgical feast celebrating the singular privilege and grace given to the Mother of Jesus in order to preserve her from "original sin" from the moment of her conception

Franciscan - order of friars founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the 1200's

geographic midpoint of America - 97.5 degrees west longitude and 19.5 degrees north latitude

Gospel - the "good news" of the first century biographic writings of The New Testament by Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John regarding the life, person and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the founding of His Church

Grace - a supernatural "free gift" from God that enables us to share in His Divine Life and friendship on earth and in Heaven.  Sin depletes the soul from grace

heir - one who inherits or is entitled to an inheritance ( see inheritance, below)

Hinduism - religion of the greatest number of persons in India and involves a great variety of beliefs ranging from polytheism (the belief in many gods) to belief in one god. The god most worshipped is Vishnu

Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the central act of worship of the Catholic Church; the unbloody "renewal" of the suffering and death of Christ and His glorious Resurrection from the dead; the Mass is this unbloody Sacrifice of The Cross perpetuated throughout time

Holy Spirit - the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity who proceeds from the Father and the Son and is equal to Them as He is the same Lord and God as They are.  He is referred to as "The Love of God personified"

Gifts of the Holy Spirit - special graces granted by the Holy Spirit  which are 1) knowledge 2) wisdom 3) understanding 4) counsel (or right judgment) 5) piety - devotion to religious duties 6) fear of the Lord and 7) fortitude 

Fruits of the Holy Spirit -  the acts which result from the practice of the supernatural graces infused into the soul by the Holy Spirit.  They are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modesty, continency  (preserves the mind from impure thoughts or desires and restrains the will), benignity (good-natured), longanimity ( to wait with patience, longsuffering and forbearance in anticipation of the future and over an extended period of time to practice virtues and seek sanctification) and chastity.

homily - an instructive discourse on a passage of Scripture, through which the spiritual lesson of the scriptural text is made clear

Immaculate Conception - the distinct privilege of the Blessed Virgin, Mary, who, through the merits of her Divine Son, was conceived in her mother's womb without the guilt or stain of "original sin" and has been a dogma (see dogma above) of the Catholic Church since 1854

Immaculate Heart of Mary - Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who is without the guilt or stain of "Original Sin", is in complete union with God and holds the "Triune" God (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit) in her heart

indigenous peoples - people who belong to a locality or country by birth

infallibility, Papal - the Pope cannot err when he speaks as Shepherd and teacher of all Christians when  defining a doctrine, concerning faith or morals, to be held by the whole Church

inheritance - the act of receiving property or possessions from an ancestor

Jesuit - members of the Society of Jesus, founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in 1534-40

last rites - the administration of the three sacraments of Penance, Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion before death

laylay people or "laity" is a general term used for all the members of the universal Church who are not members of a professed religious order, society or congregation

Liturgy - the Mass, the Eucharist

Magisterium of the Church - the power given by Christ to the Church together with infallibility (see above) by which the Church teaches authoritatively the revealed truth of the Scripture and holds forth the truth of tradition for salvation.   

martyrdom - the act of choosing to suffer or die rather than give up ones faith or principles

Mary - the Mother of Jesus - Other titles are,  Mother of GodBlessed Mother, Our Lady

Mass - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the central act of worship of the Catholic Church; the unbloody "renewal" of the suffering and death of Christ and His glorious Resurrection from the dead; the Mass is this unbloody Sacrifice of The Cross perpetuated throughout time

Mercedarian - religious order of priests founded by St. Peter Nolasco in 1218, who are dedicated to the Blessed Mother under the title of "Our Lady of Mercy"

mestiza - a person of Spanish and Indian blood

monasticism - the practice of a way of life characteristic of monks and nuns who practice self-denial

Oceania - the islands in the Pacific, including New Zealand and Australia

Original Sin - the sin of disobedience committed by our first parents, Adam and Eve (who are the origin and head of all mankind) in the Garden of Eden.  It is a sin which all mankind inherits as a consequence of the sin of "pride" and "grave disobedience" of our first parents

Pentecost -  the feast honored on the seventh Sunday after Easter in order to commemorate the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles which occurred ten days after the Ascension (see Ascension above) of our Lord into Heaven.  Pentecost marks the beginning of the active apostolic work and is honored as the "birthday" of the Church

Pope John Paul II - successor to the Apostle, St. Peter, who by divine law has supreme jurisdiction over the Universal Church - Other titles are Vicar of Christ, Bishop of Rome, Holy Father, Supreme Pontiff

Primatial - highest in rank in a nation or province

Purgatory -  temporal punishment due for sins and purification after death that "transforms" those souls that are not yet  "PERFECT IN LOVE"

rationalism - to devise explanations for one's actions, beliefs, etc., usually without being aware that these are not the real motives / practice of accepting reason as the only authority in determining one's opinions or course of action

repentance - to feel a sincere sorrow or regret over a past sin, error or omission

SACRAMENT - an outward sign instituted by Christ, which gives sanctifying grace (which is a gift given by God and infused into the very essence of the soul) 

                 Sacrament of Baptism - Sacrament of  "initiation"  which cleanses us from "original sin".  I enables us to worship in "spirit" and in "truth" as members of Christ's Mystical Body, the Church.  Matthew 28:18-19 

                 Sacrament of Reconciliation ( Penance or Sacramental Confession) - Sacrament of  "crisis"  by which the sins we have committed after baptism are forgiven.  This forgiveness is conveyed to our soul by the priest's absolution ( see absolution, above ), joined with our contrition and confession.  It is the Sacrament which "reconciles" us with God and brings us back into "union with Him." John 20:21-23  SEE ALSO TEXT ON RECONCILIATION               

                 Sacrament of Holy Eucharist - Sacrament of "initiation"  that is the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ under the "appearances" of bread and wine.  When the words of consecration, ordained by Jesus Christ, are pronounced by the priest in the Holy Mass, there is made a conversion of the whole substance of bread into the Body and of the whole substance of  wine into the Blood of Jesus Christ.  This is called "Transubstantiation".  Under either kind alone, Christ is received whole and entire and as a true Sacrament. Is the font and apex of the Christian life!  Other terms that may be used for Holy Eucharist may be Holy Communion or Blessed Sacrament.  Matthew 26:26-28

                 Sacrament of Confirmation - Sacrament of  "initiation"  by which we receive the Holy Spirit in order to make us strong, perfect Christians and "soldiers" of Jesus Christ, enabling us to "spread and defend" the Catholic Faith.  Acts 8:15 and 2nd Corinthians: 1:21-22

                 Sacrament of Matrimony - Sacrament of "vocation"  which sanctifies the contract of a Christian marriage, and gives a special grace to those who receive it worthily.  Matthew 19:5-6

                Sacrament of Holy Orders - Sacrament of  "vocation"  by which men are ordained to receive the powers of Christ's priesthood by the imposition of the bishop's hands, anointing with chrism ( an oil solemnly blessed by the Bishop on Thursday of Holy Week, mixed with balm ) , and the Bishop's prayers.  John 20:21-22

                Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick - Sacrament of  "crisis" in which a Christian whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age is anointed with holy oil.  Immediate danger of death is not necessary.  Is a Sacrament of healing which always gives spiritual strength and at times restores physical health.  James 5:14-15 

Sacred Liturgy - the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the central act of worship of the Catholic Church; the unbloody "renewal" of the suffering and death of Christ and His glorious Resurrection from the dead; the Mass is this unbloody Sacrifice of The Cross perpetuated throughout time 

Scripture - the books of the Old and New Testament or a passage or text from the Bible

Sin - an offense against God by any thought, word, deed or omission against any of the Commandments

Original Sin - sin committed by our first parents, Adam and Eve ( see above ) 

Actual Sin - sin we, ourselves, commit 

Mortal or serious -  a grievous offense against God that destroys our friendship with God, causing us to lose grace and eternal life. The conditions that have to be present are 1) we have to be aware or "know" ( "full knowledge" ) that the offense is of a "very serious nature" and  2) we do "not care" and "carry out" the offense anyway ( this is giving "full consent" ) Under normal conditions, This type of sin can only be forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation! ( see above )

 Venial Sin - a minor offense that displeases God   

soul - at creation, God endowed us with two "special gifts", one of soul and one of body.  The soul is the spiritual substance which, when united to the body, makes up a human being 

"state of grace" -  a sharing in God's Divine life, in the soul which is the primary gift given to our first parents, Adam and Eve.  It is when our souls are not in mortal or serious sin  ( see above )

Synod - periodic gathering of clergy ( bishops, priests and deacons)

Synod of Bishops - gathering of bishops on an international, national, territorial or provincial basis in order to discuss and determine the procedures most beneficial for the Church

tilma - a cactus-fiber cloak 

Vatican - the papal state within Rome established in 1929

Very Center of all the Americas - which is the geographical midpoint located at the position of 97.5 degrees west longitude and 19.5 degrees north latitude

vicissitudes - irregular changes or variations (as in life)

vigil  - term applied to the day preceding a liturgical feast

VIRTUE - a power or habit of doing good -

The Theological Virtues - FAITH ( to believe ALL that God has revealed through Scripture and tradition and totally trust in Him ), HOPE ( the desire of the "gift" of Eternal Life which is Heaven and the confidence in God that He will provide the necessary assistance we need here on earth in order to reach His Kingdom ) and LOVE ( the "giving" of ones time, assistance or material possessions and not expecting anything in return ).

The Cardinal Virtues - prudence ( "thinking" before acting in order to make a wise decision and then acting upon it ), temperance ( moderation in all pleasurable areas of life, such as eating, drinking, behavior, etc. ),  justice ( fairness in respecting the "rights" of others )  and fortitude ( courage to do what is correct in spite of difficulties )


"Corporal" Works of Mercy - 1)  to feed the hungry  2)  to give drink to the thirsty  3)  to clothe the naked  4)  to give shelter to the homeless  5)  to visit the sick  6)  to visit the imprisoned  7)  to bury the dead

"Spiritual" Works of Mercy - 1)  to convert the sinner  2)  to instruct the ignorant  3) to counsel the doubtful  4)  to comfort the sorrowful  5)  to bear wrongs patiently  6) to forgive injuries  7)  to pray for the living and the dead